Team work is key to a Sustainable Business

Team work is key to a Sustainable Business
March 25, 2015 Bradley Cox

Guest Column by Dr Sarah Jenny

Dr. Sarah Jenny (right) is Director of Duurzame Hotels and Green Globe’s preferred partner in The Netherlands.

Working with Green Globe members to integrate the Green Globe Standard into their operations and management, I find one of the most important indicators is,  “ A.1.11 A environmental task force (Green Team) exists to facilitate and maintain environmental initiatives” . Although this is not mandatory I always encourage Green Globe members to form a Green Team.  For example, you can assign one person from each department to the Green Team. Some hotels chose to assign the department heads but you can also choose from other employees. Usually, Green team members are proud of being part of the team and feel rewarded.

The Green Globe Standard has 381 indicators and a hotel has to satisfy around half of them. This seems to be insurmountable at first but once the indicators are split between the Green Team members, it is easy for each team member to implement them within a couple of days.

Because the Green Globe Standard is an international standard, the implementation of some indicators may differ from one country to another. For example, take the indicator “D. Specific waste sorting actions (recycling) have been identified and implemented”. The question may arise as to what is meant by “specific actions”. This depends on the infrastructure in place in your country.

To overcome this issue, we – the consultant – usually  plan an initial Green Globe meeting together with the Green Team and explain how each indicator can be met. Then we discuss who is doing what and at the end of the meeting, each team member has a specific list of actions he or she has to implement. This first meeting takes one or two days and gives each team member the opportunity to get a comprehensive overview of Green Globe and of its impact within the organisation.

In turn Green Team members will delegate some of their tasks to other colleagues within their department. By doing so, many employees will be working on Green Globe and a broad awareness will be created.  For a Green Team to be efficient, it is important that it gets support from the management and there is enough time to implement the Green Globe indicators. Therefore I always encourage the General Manager to be part of this first Green Globe meeting.

Our experience shows that members of the Green Team are changing every year. Turnover is one of the reasons. But often after doing it for a couple of years, it is nice for someone else to become part of the team as well. To maintain continuity in the Green Globe process, we – the consultant –  join a Green Team meeting at least once a year. This gives us the opportunity not only to discuss new criteria and the implementation progress but also to make sure that new Green Team members are well informed and don’t feel overwhelmed with their new responsibilities.

But the most important of all: being part of the Green Team is fun and rewarding!